Injections of Platelet-Rich Plasma Improve Severe Knee Osteoarthritis

By Chris Berrie

FLORENCE, Italy -- March 29, 2017 -- Injections of platelet-rich plasma can provide significantly improved clinical status and quality of life for patients with severe knee osteoarthritis, according to results of a prospective study presented at the 2017 World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (WCO).

Injections of platelet-rich plasma are known to be effective for patients with early knee osteoarthritis, but the benefits for severe knee osteoarthritis have been uncertain until now, noted Neze Ölmez Sarıkaya, MD, Katip Çelebi University Atatürk Training and Research Hospital, Izmir, Turkey, on March 25. Dr. Ölmez Sarıkaya and colleagues particularly wanted to know whether this procedure might delay arthroplasty, because treatment options are limited for these patients.

The team randomised 60 patients with severe knee osteoarthritis to receive a home exercise programme with no active treatment (control; n = 30) or 3 injections of platelet-rich plasma at 3-week intervals (active treatment; n = 30). One millilitre of platelet-rich plasma was obtained from 20 mL of blood after centrifugation over a buffer cushion.

At the 3- and 6-months after the start of treatment, the researchers observed statistically significant clinical improvements in patients receiving the platelet-rich plasma. There were no changes in the control subjects.

Active treatment provided significant improvements in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index parameters (pain, stiffness, physical function; P < .05 for all) and across the subscores of the short-form (SF)-36 quality-of-life questionnaire (physical function, physical role, pain, social function, emotional role, mental health, general health, vitality; P < .05 for all).

Dr. Ölmez Sarıkaya said that studies with larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods are still needed to evaluate whether platelet-rich plasma injections can delay arthroplasty.

All of the patients had Kellgren-Lawrence grade IV radiological changes and a diagnosis of severe knee osteoarthritis according to the American College of Rheumatology. They were also under advice for arthroplasty. Baseline demographic characteristics in the 2 groups were similar for sex (women, 96.6% and 80.0%), mean age (56.3 and 60.5 years), and body mass index (32.7 and 33.6 kg/m2).

The WCO Congress is sponsored by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO).

[Presentation title: Efficacy of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) in Severe Knee Osteoarthritis. Can PRP Injections Delay Arthroplasty? Abstract P981]
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